UCF Physics Shines at APS Bridge Conference

Back row from left to right: Chance Barrett, Rachel Evans, Dr. Abdelkader Kara, Rainier Berkley, and George Davila. Front row from left to right: Tyrone Thames, Esperanza Soto Arcino, Dr. Talat Rahman, Dr. Ahlam Al-Rawi, and Keanna Jardine.

The University of Central Florida’s Department of Physics was well represented at this year’s annual conference of the American Physical Society Bridge Program.

Physics faculty and students made UCF proud with their participation and outstanding presentations at the conference held Feb. 10-12, 2017 in College Park, Maryland.

The event included talks on physics graduate education, panels and discussions on diversity, networking opportunities, and more. Chance Barrett, a UCF physics doctoral student who attended the conference, explained how the event was a motivating experience for him.

“The conference had some great workshops and presentations,” said Barrett. “The time management workshop opened my eyes to how valuable time is and inspired me to stop wasting time on things that are not helping me better myself.”

UCF was well represented by multiple physics graduate students who attended the conference. These students included Rainier Berkley, Andre Childs, George Davila, Keanna Jardine, Fernand Torres Davila, Chance Barrett, Rachel Evans, Tyrone Thames and Brian Zamarripa Roman.

Rainier Berkley won the second-place prize in a poster and presentation contest. His research project, Phosphate Binding with Thiophene-based Polyazamacrocyles, focused on the role of the composition of a thiophene-based receptor in binding phosphate in solution.

The UCF physics faculty who attended the APS Bridge conference included Pegasus Professor and UCF Bridge Program Site Leader Talat Rahman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Associate Site Leader Laurene Tetard, Ph.D., Lecturer and Mentoring and Outreach Leader Ahlam al-Rawi, Ph.D., and Associate Professor and Course Advisement of the program Abdelkader Kara, Ph.D.

“I am so delighted that UCF is part of the APS Bridge Program which has helped us recruit some wonderful graduate students from diverse backgrounds into our graduate program,” Rahman said. “I am also thrilled that one of our graduate students Rainier Berkley received the second prize for best poster presentation. Rainier is an excellent student and we are proud to have him in our Ph.D. program, starting Fall 2017.”

Below is the list of presenters from the UCF Department of Physics at the conference:

  • Master’s student Andre Childs: Biocompatible gold/silver nanostars for surface-enhanced Raman scattering
  • Doctoral student Chance Barrett: Light trapping effect of the nanostructured diatoms frustules in solar cells
  • Master’s student Fernand Torres Davila: Exploring the mechanisms of image formation in nanoscale subsurface imaging with Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Master’s student George Davila: Unphysical phases in staggered chiral perturbation theory
  • Master’s student Rainier Berkley: Phosphate binding with thiophene-based polyazamacrocyles
  • Master’s and doctoral student Brian Zamarripa Roman: The impact of situational factors on attitudes about Physics
  • Talat Rahman: Participated as a panel member for the Graduate Program Assessment Workshop.

Click the below photo to view photos from the conference.
UCF Physics at the Graduate Education and Bridge Program Conference

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